I know that it's possible perform automation of testing. That is, take tests that are manual, and make them automatic.

However, is there such a thing as the testing of automation? That is, checking if an automation process is working correctly or not?

I came across a job ad talking about "testing automation", and I'm 95% sure it means the automation of testing, but I wanted to check whether the testing of automation is a thing.

  • 1
    @amon: read the question again, the OP is not talking about testing of "test automation".
    – Doc Brown
    Jun 27, 2015 at 9:12
  • Any program automates something. So any test of a program is also a "testing of automation" - that is pretty trivial. There is nothing special about this. If you have a more special kind of automation in mind, you should clarify this in your question (but the answer will still be just "yes", what else do you expect?). See also meta.programmers.stackexchange.com/questions/7273/…
    – Doc Brown
    Jun 27, 2015 at 9:17

2 Answers 2


Of course it's a thing (it's just unsearchable, because search engines don't handle meaningful differences in word order well).

Automation is code that does things you would otherwise have to do by hand. Spoken loosely, that covers all computer programs, so we usually use it to mean "code that generates other computer-readable assets". And of course it's testable - the same principles of unit testing apply as everywhere else.

Example: If your code generates images, you specify properties of the images you want, e.g. "this image has the same color balance as the other, but is smaller and lower-resolution". If it's log files, you run it and then verify that the log contains the info you wanted to log. And if the output is other computer programs, you an either analyse them statically (without running them) or dynamically (by running them and testing their output). By definition, if that output is satisfactory, then the automation was successful, and that's what you want to ensure.


Test Automation is the process of automating testing, you guessed correct.

However, your misunderstanding is actually the more interesting question: can you test automation? Well, it turns out that the question isn't so interesting after all: an automation script is just another program, so you can test it like any other program. Okay, sure, its primary purpose is to have a side-effect (say restarting a server, updating a software package, etc., editing a config file), and it interacts with an environment largely outside of its control (server daemons, computers on another network, the filesystem, the OS), both of wich make it harder to test than a pure function, but it's testable nonetheless.

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